Weather Forecast


Editorial: A decision on health care reform is needed

For more than a year, Republicans and Democrats have wrestled in the political arena over the health care reform.

Today, they are no closer to agreement. However, they are coming to a showdown this weekend.

The House is expected to vote on a revised 10-year, $940 billion package expanding health care to 32 million people. Democrats do not know if they have enough votes to pass this health care proposal.

The Democrats' latest plan includes:

- Expanding the Medicaid program for the poor.

- Establishing a subsidized marketplace for middle-income people and small businesses.

- Requiring most people to have insurance.

The plan pays for itself by:

- Taxing the most expensive health plans.

- Increasing the Medicare payroll tax for upper-income taxpayers.

- Imposing new fees on drug companies.

Those are just a few of the details is a very large bill, more than 2,000 pages.

The latest Congressional Budget Office analysis found the bill would give 95 percent of Americans health insurance access and cutting the federal deficit by $138 billion in the next decade and $1.2 trillion in the second decade.

Republican leaders claim the bill includes $150 billion in new taxes and $60 billion in Medicare cuts. They are also objecting to the procedures utilized by Democrats to bring the bill to a vote.

Another think tank said recently that if nothing is done, the worst-case scenario is the number of Americans without coverage might increase by one-third to nearly 68 million.

The time has come of Congress to make a decision on this bill. Congress has spent significant time and effort on the health care reform issue, on both sides of the political aisle.

Other issues need to be addressed by this administration and Congress. Those include homeland security policy, economic policy, immigration policy and education policy, just to name a few.

It is time for all -- Democrats and Republicans -- in Congress to make a decision on health care reform.

Hopefully, the decision -- whatever it is -- will be completed over the weekend.